“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”
– Gustave Flaubert
It is Friday July 30, 2021, when I jump on the train from Amsterdam Central Station to Hamburg Hauptbahnhof. With a suitcase and a backpack I am ready to start my new adventure in Germany. After working for 5 years at Squla and WRTS (both part of Futurewhiz), I now have the opportunity to work for scoyo, a German online learning platform for primary school children. I will reinforce the marketing team with email / loyalty marketing and help build a bridge between the Amsterdam and Hamburg office.
After a few first days of sightseeing in my new hometown Hamburg (checking out the beautiful Alster, Rathausmarkt and Elbphilharmonie), I start my new role as Loyalty Manager scoyo on the 1st of August. The team gives me a very warm welcome: fresh flowers, a nicely decorated desk, snacks and a welcome’s lunch with the Marketing Team!
scoyo was founded in 2007 but completely rebuilt and rebranded at the end of 2020. The challenge is to find the right market / product fit in the German market. I learn a lot from my colleagues about the German school system, the German consumer (market) and how to do business in Germany. I try to mix my knowledge from Squla and WRTS with my new German market knowledge to help scoyo grow into the next phase, so we can help more and more children with personalised fun learning.
At the end of August I have an intensive German language course at “De nonnen van Vught” – an awesome experience! We focus on office conversations, interviewing teachers and parents, discussing school topics, writing emails, cultural differences and of course some grammar.
When I return to Hamburg I switch to speaking German in the office, which results in some great entertainment for my colleagues. Some examples:
- Saying the German word “krass” in an official meeting (I thought “krass” meant ‘cool, awesome’, but it means something like ‘dope’…)
- Accidentally translating Dutch sayings, such as “Das ist geschnitten Kuchen” or “Etwas unter das Knie haben”, which are sentences that don’t make a lot of sense in German
- Trying to tell someone that I know my way around this area by saying “Ich bin hier bekannt”, which actually translates into “I am famous here”…
In the next months I start to feel at home and settle more and more into the role and the country. I learn a lot! For example, did you know that the Germans actually prefer to “duzen” (an informal way to talk to someone), but to be polite they still often start with ”Sie” (which is a formal way to talk to someone)? And that there is quite some innovation in environmental consciousness and eating vegetarian / vegan? And, not unimportant, that you always need to have some cash with you since you cannot always pay by card (this caused some missed bus trips and sprints to cash machines)? In addition, I try a lot of German food, such as Franzbrötchen (cinnamon croissant), currywurst und pommes, Schmalzkuchen, Brezeln and Reibekuchen. And of course, drink a lot of Glühwein at the wunderschöne Weihnachtsmärkte. Even though I really like to join my colleagues for a warm lunch every now and then, I still prefer my Dutch brought-from-home-lunch: bread with avocado.
Next to work I am discovering Hamburg together with my volleyball team, colleagues, flatmates and friends and family from the Netherlands who come to visit, which is a lot of fun! I also found an awesome language buddy, who I meet regularly to speak German and Dutch with and talk about our cultures.
To conclude, I can definitely recommend saying yes to such an adventure! It teaches so much, you meet many new interesting people and it really broadens my horizon!